By: Roger G.
So here I am, several days after UFC 82, trying to process everything that took place on Saturday night. Other than yet another dominant Anderson Silva title defense (of which I am not too surprised- I picked him over Henderson, I just hoped for a more competitive match), what long-lasting effects will the show have in the coming months in the UFC?
Here’s “How I See It”:
Point #1– The most important question to ask right off the bat, in the words of Joe Rogan, “Who’s left to challenge Anderson Silva?” As perplexing as this may seem, it’s not too difficult to find a decent possible matchup for “The Spider”, though the main event might not cause too many to salivate. First, there’s the steamrolling Yushin Okami, who should have opened some eyes last night with the most devestating stoppage of the show, KO’ing former middleweight champ Evan Tanner with an Anderson Silva-esque muay-thai knee to the head. Though it’s no secret that Okami is well known for taking most of his matches to the scorecards (4 of his last 7 have gone to decision), that may very well be what is needed to beat the champ. That, along with Okami’s natural ability to neutralize his opponent’s strengths, a solid G&P game, and ever-improving standup might be the tools needed to at least challenge Silva.
Other possible matchups in the near future for Silva include Patrick Cote, Michael Bisping, and the winner of Lutter-Franklin. Cote is coming off of two impressive TKO wins in the octagon. Although I understand that he’s 3-4 in the UFC, somehow it doesn’t matter to the matchmakers if someone is coming off a losing streak as long as his recent past looks good (i.e. Randy Couture retired after two consecutive KO losses to Chuck Liddell and came back to fight for the HW title). Michael Bisping, though controversial, did fairly well in the LHW division and is coming down to 185, possibly because of this very situation. Since he already has a name due to TUF, and has already headlined a PPV card, I could see him getting a title shot if he defeats Charles McCarthy. Lastly, the winner of Lutter-Franklin is a given. Franklin would be a first “third times’ a charm” title match I can recall, but his previous dominance in the division and the pure curiousity of the outcome of yet another rematch would be enough to draw a crowd. Lutter, on the other hand, is something of a wild-card in this whole thing. He won TUF, got the shot, blew it at the weigh-ins, and still came out and put up a heck of a fight. The question that is on alot of minds is, “What if he came to the fight in shape and properly trained?” If he beats Franklin, we may very well find out.
Point #2– What about Herring and Kongo? Where do we go from here? During this fight I was telling my buddies “Wouldn’t it be just perfect to see a Herring-Nogueira rematch in the UFC, but this time for the title?” I just thought that Herring sort of deserved it, and now I think he’s going to get it. Though this will actually be their fourth time against eachother (they fought twice in PRIDE), each time they face eachother is nothing short of a war. So that leaves Kongo. Before Tim Sylvia accepted the Nogueira fight, right after the Brandon Vera fight, he called out Kongo. This fight seems to be lining up perfectly at this point in time.
Point #3– When will Jon Fitch get a title shot? The honest answer is “I don’t know”. I think he deserves one, but at the same time I think Karo Parysian has deserved on for some time, too. “The Heat” is fighting Thiago Alves in just about a month, and if he wins that bout (which I think he will), the stars might align just right for these two to face off in a top-contender bout. That being said, we have to take into account that this is possibly the most stacked division in the UFC, with the likes of Josh Koscheck and Diego Sanchez (who both pulled of impressive wins in the undercard), the addition of Mike Swick, and a wealth of new talent coming out of the last TUF season who could easily make bumps in the road to the title for anyone.
Point #4– What about Andrei? Though I love the UFC, I think it’s pretty snotty how they treated “The Pitbull”. Yes, he’s come out of a few “sleeper” matches, but what about his opponents in those matches? One just got a title-shot, and the other went on from the losing-end of one of those lackluster matches and fought on a main-card and is now considered a top-contender. What the heck? Since Arlovski’s loss to Tim Sylvia, he’s gone 3-0. Yet he was shoved onto an undercard bout in the last fight on the contract. What does he do? He TKO’s Jake O’Brien in impressive fashion. Is this a statement to the higher power or a farewell? I don’t know. What do I think? The UFC will offer him a renewal and “The Pitbull” won’t bite.
That’s my thoughts on things after the show on Saturday. All in all it was a pretty good night of fights, and it opens up alot of opportunities for some exciting matchups in the future. Will my predictions come to pass, who knows? But that’s “HOW I SEE IT”.